David S. Thompson, Ph.D.

David S. Thompson

Airbus Helicopters, Inc. Professor, and Professor

Office: 319C Walker Engineering Building
P 662.325.2068


Ph.D., Iowa State University, Aerospace Engineering, 1987.
M.S., Mississippi State University, Aerospace Engineering, 1980.
B.S., Mississippi State University, Aerospace Engineering, 1979.

David Thompson holds the rank of professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and is the inaugural holder of the Airbus Helicopters, Inc. Professorship in Aerospace Engineering. From 2009-15, he served as an Associate Director in the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems (CAVS)  and the lead of the Computational Fluid Dynamics group. From 2015-17, he served as Special Assistant Vice President in the Office of Research and Economic Development. Prior to joining the ASE faculty, he was a member of the research faculty at the MSU NSF Engineering Research Center. His previous related experience includes a faculty appointment at the University of Texas at Arlington and, prior to that, industrial experience at the General Dynamics/Ft. Worth Division (now Lockheed Martin). He was selected as a Royal Academy of Engineering Distinguished Visiting Fellow for 2014-15.

Teaching Areas

  • Engineering Mechanics
  • Mesh Generation
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Fluid dynamics

Taught Courses

Undergraduate Courses
  • EM 2413 Engineering Mechanics I
  • ASE 4343 Compressible Aerody
  • EM 3313 Fluid Mechanics
Split Level Courses
  • ASE 4423/6423 Int Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • ASE 4433/6433 Fundamentals of Num Grid Generation

Research Areas

  • Aircraft icing
  • Unsteady flows
  • Vortex dominated flows

Funding Agencies

  • Air Force Office of Scientific Research
  • Air Force Research Laboratory
  • Army Research Office
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Airbus Group – North America
  • Hearin Foundation
  • NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
  • NASA Glenn Research Center
  • National Science Foundation
  • US Army Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC)
  • US Army Corps of Engineers


  • L. Zhang, R. Laramee, D. Thompson, A. Sescu, and G. Chen, “Compute and Visualize and Visualizing Discontinuity Among Neighboring Integral Curves of 2D Vector Fields,” Topological Methods in Data Analysis and Visualization IV: Theory, Algorithms, and Applications (ISBN 978-3-319-44682-0), pp. 187-204, H. Carr, C. Garth, and T. Weinkauf, eds, Springer, Apr 2017.
  • G. Burgreen, R. Hester, B. Soni, D. Thompson, D. K. Walters, and K. Walters, “DigitalLung: Application of High-Performance Computing to Biological System Simulation,” Advances in Computational Biology (ISBN: 978-1-4419-5912-6), AEMB, Springer Series, vol. 680, pp. 573-584, H. R. Arabnia, ed., Oct 2010.
  • R. S. Laramee, G. Chen, M. Jankun-Kelly, E. Zhang, and D. Thompson, “Bringing Topology-Based Visualization Techniques to the Application Domain,” Topology-Based Methods in Visualization II (Proceedings of Topo-In-Vis 2007), Mathematics and Visualization (ISBN: 978-3-540-88605-1), pp. 161-176, H.-C. Hege, K. Polthier, G. Scheuermann, eds, Springer-Verlag, Jan 2009.
  • M. Jiang, R. Machiraju, and D. Thompson, "Detection and Visualization of Vortices," Visualization Handbook (ISBN: 012387582X), pp. 295-309, C. Johnson and C. Hansen, eds, Academic Press, Jan 2005.
  • R. Machiraju, S. Parthasarathy, J. Wilkins, D. Thompson, B. Gatlin, D. Richie, T. Choy, M. Jiang, S. Mehta, M. Coatney, S. Barr, and K. Hazzard, "Mining Temporally-Varying Phenomena in Scientific Datasets," Data Mining: Next Generation Challenges and Future Directions (ISBN: 978-0262612036), pp. 273-290, H. Kargupta, A. Joshi, K. Sivakumar, and Y. Yesha, Eds., AAAI Press/The MIT Press, Oct 2004.
  • Y. Kim, R. Machiraju, and D. Thompson, "Modeling Rough Surfaces," Geometric Modeling for Scientific Visualization (ISBN: 978-3-540-40116-2), pp. 123-138, G. Brunnett, B. Hamann, B. Muller, and L. Linsen, eds, Springer Verlag, Feb 2004.
  • B. Nakshatrala, D. Thompson, and R. Machiraju, “Ranked Representation of Vector Fields,” Data Visualization: The State of the Art (ISBN: 978-1-4020-7259-8), pp. 301-313, F. Post, G. Neilsen, and G.-P. Bonneau, Eds., Kluwer Academic Publishers, Jan 2003.

Select Journal Publications

  • R. Patel, D. Thompson, G. Riveros, W. Hodo, and J. Peters, “Dimensional analysis of structural response in complex biological structures,” Mathematics and Computers in Simulation, vol. 172, 2020, pp. 305-320. DOI: 10.1016/j.matcom.2019.12.001.
  • S. Salunkhe, O. El Fajri, S. Bhushan, D. Thompson, D. O’Doherty, T. O’Doherty, and A. Mason-Jones, “Validation of Hydrokinetic Turbine Turbulent Wake Predictions and Analysis of Wake Recovery Mechanism,” Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, Vol. 7 (2019), No. 10, 362, DOI: 10.3390/jmse7100362.
  • R. Patel, G.A. Riveros, D.S. Thompson, E.J. Perkins, J.J. Hoover, J.F. Peters, and A. Tordesillas, “A transdisciplinary approach for analyzing stress flow patterns in bio-structures,” Mathematical and Computational Applications Vol. 24 (2019), No. 2, pp. 47. DOI:10.3390/mca24020047.
  • R. Patel, D. Valles, G.A. Riveros, D.S. Thompson, E.J. Perkins, J.J. Hoover, J.F. Peters, and A. Tordesillas, "Stress flow analysis of biostructures using the finite element method and the flow network approach," Finite Elements in Analysis and Design, Vol. 152 (2018), pp. 46-54, DOI:10.1016/j.finel.2018.09.003.
  • L. Zhang, D. Nguyen, D. Thompson, R. Laramee, and G. Chen, “Enhanced Vector Field Visualization via Lagrangian Accumulation,” Computers and Graphics, (Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Computer-Aided Design and Computer Graphics (CAD/Graphics)), Zhangjiajie, China, Aug 26-27, 2017, Vol. 70 (2018), pp. 224-234, DOI: 1016/j.cag.2017.07.014.
  • X. Tong, D. Thompson, Q. Arnoldus, E. Collins, and E. Luke, “Discrete Surface Evolution and Mesh Deformation for Aircraft Icing Applications,” AIAA Journal of Aircraft, Vol.54, No. 3 (2017), pp. 1047-1063, DOI: 10.2514/1.C033949.
  • X. Wang, M. Remotigue, Q. Arnoldus, M. Janus, E. Luke, D. Thompson, R. Weed, and G. Bessette, “High-Fidelity Simulations of Blast Loadings in Urban Environments using an Overset Meshing Strategy,” Shock Waves, 2016, DOI: 10.1007/s00193-016-0680-x (published online Jul 16, 2016).
  • L. Zhang, R. Laramee, D. Thompson, A. Sescu, and G. Chen, “An Integral Curve Attribute Based Flow Segmentation,” Journal of Visualization, vol. 19, no. 3, 2016, pp. 423–436, DOI: 10.1007/s12650-015-0336-4.
  • T. Ströbl, S. Storm, D. Thompson, M. Hornung, and F. Thielecke, “Feasibility Study of a Hybrid Ice Protection System,” AIAA Journal of Aircraft, vol. 52, no. 6, 2015, pp. 2064-2076, DOI: 10.2514/1.C033161.
  • J. Blake, D. Thompson, D. Raps, and T. Ströbl, “Modeling the Freezing of Supercooled Water Droplets Impacting a Cooled Substrate,” AIAA Journal, vol. 53, no. 7, 2015, pp. 1725-1739, DOI: 10.2514/1.J053391.
  • A. Sescu and D. Thompson, “On the Excitation of Görtler Vortices by Distributed Roughness Elements,” Theoretical and Computational Fluid Dynamics, vol. 29, no. 1-2, 2015, pp. 67-92, DOI: 10.1007/s00162-015-0340-2.
  • M.F. Alam, D. Thompson, and D.K. Walters, “Hybrid Reynolds-Averaged Navier–Stokes/Large-Eddy Simulation Models for Flow around an Iced Wing,” AIAA Journal of Aircraft, vol. 52, no. 1, 2015, pp. 244-256, DOI: 10.2514/1.C032678.
  • D.K. Walters, G. Burgreen, R. Hester, D. Thompson, D. Lavallee, W. Pruett, and J. Ford-Green, “Cyclic Breathing Simulations in Large Scale Models of the Lung Airway from the Oronasal Opening to the Terminal Bronchioles,” ASME Journal of Fluids Engineering, vol. 136, no. 10, 2014, 10 pg., DOI: 10.1115/1.4027485.
  • L. Zhang, Q. Deng, R. Machiraju, A. Rangarajan, D. Thompson, D.K. Walters, and H.-W. Shen, “Boosting Techniques for Physics-Based Vortex Detection,” Computer Graphics Forum, vol. 33, no. 1, 2014, pp. 282-293, DOI: 10.1111/cgf.12275.
  • D.K. Walters, S. Bhushan, M.F. Alam, and D.S. Thompson, “Investigation of a Dynamic Hybrid RANS/LES Modelling Methodology for Finite-Volume CFD Simulations,” Flow, Turbulence and Combustion. Special Issue: 9th International Symposium on Engineering Turbulence Modelling and Measurements, ETMM9 (Eds: B. Geurts, A. Tomboulides, D. von Terzi and W. Rodi) (published online Jul 7, 2013), DOI: 10.1007/s10494-013-9481-9.
  • B.J. Soni and D. Thompson, “Effects of Temporally-Varying Inlet Conditions on Flow and Particle Deposition in the Small Bronchial Tubes,” International Journal for Numerical Methods in Biomedical Engineering, vol. 28, no. 9, 2012, pp. 915-936, DOI: 10.1002/cnm.2472.
  • D. K. Walters, G. Burgreen, D. Lavallee, D. Thompson, and R. Hester, “Efficient, Physiologically Realistic Lung Airflow Simulations,” IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering Letters: Special Issue on Multi-Scale Modeling and Analysis for Computational Biology and Medicine, Vol. 58, No. 10, 2011, pp. 3016-3019.
  • N. Kasmai, D. Thompson, E. Luke, M. Jankun-Kelly, and R. Machiraju, “Feature-Based Adaptive Mesh Refinement for Wingtip Vortices,” International Journal for Numerical Methods in Fluids, vol. 66, no. 10, 2011, pp. 1274-1294, DOI: 10.1002/fld.2312.
  • Y. Ito, A. Shih, R. Koomullil, N. Kasmai, M. Jankun-Kelly, and D. Thompson, “Solution Adaptive Mesh Generation using Feature-Aligned Embedded Surface Meshes,” AIAA Journal, vol. 47, no. 8, 2009, pp. 1879-1888 (also Paper 2007-0558, AIAA 45th Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, Reno, NV, Jan 8-11, 2007), DOI: 10.2514/1.39378.
  • B.J. Soni, C. Lindley, and D. Thompson, “The Combined Effects of Non-planarity and Asymmetry on Primary and Secondary Flows in the Small Bronchial Tubes,” International Journal for Numerical Methods in Fluids, vol. 59, no. 2, 2009, pp. 117-146, DOI: 10.1002/fld.1802.
  • B.J. Soni, D. Thompson, and R. Machiraju, “Visualizing Particle/Flow Structure Interactions in the Small Bronchial Tubes,” IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (Proceedings of Visualization/Information Visualization 2008), vol. 14, no. 6, 2008, pp. 1412-1419, DOI: 10.1109/TVCG.2008.183.
  • S. Chalasani, V. Senguttuvan, D. Thompson, and E. Luke, “On the Use of General Elements in Fluid Dynamics Simulations,” Communications in Numerical Methods in Engineering, vol. 24, no. 6, 2008, pp. 435-448, DOI: 10.1002/cnm.1017.
  • M. Jankun-Kelly, M. Jiang, D. Thompson, and R. Machiraju, “Vortex Visualization for Practical Engineering Applications,” IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (Proceedings of Visualization/Information Visualization 2006), vol. 12, no. 5, 2006, pp. 957-964, DOI: 10.1109/TVCG.2006.201.
  • G. Craciun, M. Jiang, D. Thompson, and R. Machiraju, “Spatial Domain Wavelet Design for Feature Preservation in Computational Data Sets,” IEEE Transactions on. Visualization and Computer Graphics, vol. 11, no. 2, 2005, pp. 149-159, DOI: 10.1109/TVCG.2005.35.
  • S. Chalasani and D. Thompson, “Quality Improvements in Extruded Meshes using Topologically Adaptive Generalized Elements,” International Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering, vol. 60, no. 6, 2004, pp. 1139-1159, DOI: 10.1002/nme.1000.
  • R. P. Koomullil, D. S. Thompson, and B. K. Soni, “Iced Airfoil Simulation using Generalized Grids,” Applied Numerical Mathematics, Applied Numerical Computing: Grid Generation and Solution Methods for Advanced Simulation, vol. 46, no. 3, 2003, pp. 319-330, DOI: 10.1016/S0168-9274(03)00044-8

Select Conference Proceedings

  • D. Nguyen, L. Zhang, R. Laramee, D. Thompson, R. Monico, and G. Chen, “Unsteady Flow Visualization via Physics based Pathline Exploration,” IEEE Visualization 2019 (short paper), Vancouver, BC, Canada, Oct 20-25, 2019.
  • O. El Fajri, S. Bhushan, D. Thompson, and T. O’Doherty, “Numerical investigation of shallow-water effects on hydrokinetic turbine wake recovery," EWTEC 2019 – 13th European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference, Naples, IT, Sep 1-6, 2019.
  • R. Ellis, J. Bowman, M. Allmark, S. Bhushan, D. Thompson, A. Mason-Jones, and T. O’Doherty, “Comparison of numerical methods for predicting the performance of a horizontal axis tidal turbine,” EWTEC 2019 – 13th European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference, Naples, IT, Sep 1-6, 2019.
  • S. Salunkhe, S. Bhushan, D. Thompson, and T. O’Doherty, “Analysis and Validation of Hydrokinetic Turbine Turbulent Wake Predictions,” Asian Wave and Tidal Energy Conference (AWTEC) 2016, Singapore, Oct 24-18, 2016.
  • L. Zhang, R. Laramee, D. Thompson, A. Sescu, and G. Chen, “Flow Visualization Based on A Derived Rotation Field,” Proceedings of Visualization and Data Analysis (VDA 2016), San Francisco, CA, Feb 14-18, 2016.
  • A. Biswas, D. Thompson, W. He, Q. Deng, C-M. Chen, H.-W. Shen, R. Machiraju, and A. Rangarajan, “An Uncertainty-Driven Approach to Vortex Analysis Using Oracle Consensus and Spatial Proximity,” Proceedings of IEEE Pacific Vis 2015, Hangzhou, China, pp. 223-230, Apr 14-17, 2015. DOI: 10.1109/PACIFICVIS.2015.7156381.
  • X. Wang, D.K. Walters, G. Burgreen, and D. Thompson, “Traditional CFD Boundary Conditions Applied to Blood Analog Flow through a Patient-Specific Aortic Coarctation,” Statistical Atlases and Computational Models of the Heart. Imaging and Modelling Challenges. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 8330, 2014, pp. 118-125. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-54268-8_14.
  • C.E. Morris, A. Mason-Jones, D.M. O’Doherty, S.C. Tatum, T.O. O’Doherty, and D.S. Thompson, “Evaluation of the Swirl Characteristics of a Tidal Stream Turbine Wake,” EWTEC 2013 – 10th European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference, Aalborg, Denmark, Sep 2-5, 2013.
  • L. Zhang, X. Meng, R. Machiraju, and D. Thompson, “Distance Measure in Vortex Visualization,” Proceedings IEEE 2nd International Conference on Computer Science and Automation Engineering (CSAE), 2012, Zhangjiajie, China, vol. 2, pp. 296-299, May 25-27, 2012, DOI: 10.1109/CSAE.2012.6272778 .
  • Y. Kim, R. Machiraju, and D. Thompson, "Path-Based Control of Smoke Simulations," Proceedings of Eurographics/ACM SIGGRAPH Symposium on Computer Animation 2006, Vienna, Austria, pp. 33-42, September 2-4, 2006.
  • Y. Kim, R. Machiraju, and D. Thompson, "Rough Interface Reconstruction using the Level Set Method," Proceedings of IEEE Visualization 2004, Austin, TX, pp. 251-258, October 10-15, 2004.
  • Y. Kim, R. Machiraju, and D. Thompson, "Rough Surface Modeling Using Surface Growth," Proceedings Fifth International Conference on Shape Modeling and Applications, Seoul, Korea, pp. 33-44, May 12-16, 2003.


  • “Apparatus for Dispensing Liquid Droplets into a Gas Flow,” D. Thompson, Hutchings, D. Raps, and S. Jung, European Patent EP2520509 (granted 09/01/2017). https://register.epo.org/espacenet/regviewer?AP=11006462&CY=EP&LG=en&DB=REG.

Honors and Awards

  • Faculty of the Year, MSU Department of Aerospace Engineering (2015)
  • Royal Academy of Engineering Distinguished Visiting Fellow, “Enhancing the Analysis of Vortical Flows,” Host: D. O’Doherty, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, UK (Feb-Mar 2015)
  • Inaugural holder of the Airbus Helicopters, Inc. Professorship in Aerospace Engineering (Aug 2013- present)
  • Bagley College of Engineering Hearin Faculty Excellence Award (Fall 2010)
  • Mississippi State University StatePride Award (Fall 2010, Fall 2011)
  • Bagley College of Engineering Academy of Distinguished Teachers (inducted 2010)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award for contributions to the development of LEWICE (2009)
  • NASA TGIR "Turning Goals into Reality" for contributions to the field of aircraft icing (2001)
  • Sigma Gamma Tau
  • Tau Beta Pi
  • Phi Kappa Phi

Professional Memberships

  • American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics, Associate Fellow (2006)
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Senior Member (2006)
  • SAE International, Member
  • American Association of Engineering Education, Member